Skip to content

Oxbridge Essay Competitions

The Woolf Essay Prize

2018 Questions & Information

In 1928, Virginia Woolf addressed the Newnham Arts Society on the Subject of ‘Women and Fiction’, and from this talk emerged her seminal text, A Room of One’s Own. Newnham is very proud of its place in the history of women’s education, and we are delighted in the continuation of the Woolf Essay Prize. A Room of One’s Own raises a number of questions surrounding the place of women in society and culture, and the competition allows students to contemplate these themes and ideas while developing the independent research and writing skills essential to university-level study.

This prize may be of particular interest to those studying English Literature, History, Politics, Philosophy or Sociology, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects. Entrants are invited to submit a response to anyoneof the questions set out in ‘2018 Questions & Information’ above, which should be between 1,500 and 2,500 words (including footnotes and captions). All sources must be appropriately acknowledged and cited, and a bibliography – including websites consulted – should be attached (though excluded from the word count). Up to five entries may be submitted per school.

The winning entries from previous competitions can be found above and may be useful as you decide how to answer your chosen question. However, it is to be noted that there are many angles from which to approach each question and those available here are only a limited sample. Good essays will present a clear argument using specific examples, but outside of this many different approaches are welcome.

Winners of the Woolf Essay Prize 2017

1st Prize: Eleanor Graham
2nd Prize: Charlie Matheson
3rd Prize: Georgia Mitchell

Highly Commended: Kate Lucas
Highly Commended: Evie Patel

Commended: Florence Anderson
Commended: Suzanne Azim
Commended: Millie Bloom
Commended: Hanna Hughes
Commended: Eliza Jones
Commended: Cassandra Somers-Joce
Commended: Annabel Stock


The Engineering Essay Prize

2018 Questions & Information

Newnham is offering an annual prize for a submission on Engineering, intended to encourage students to think creatively about how some of the scientific knowledge gained at school may be applied in later life, in particular in industry, so as to improve matters (the aim of most engineers). The prize also aims to recognise the achievements of high-calibre students and those who teach them, and also to encourage more girls to study Engineering at University.

Winners of the Engineering Essay Prize 2017

1st Prize: Thea Krumins
2nd Prize: Sita Tailor
3rd Prize: Tamilore Ayo-Famola

Highly Commended: Alice Ertl
Highly Commended: Anna Mills
Highly Commended: Amelia Standing

Commended: Rosanna Fresen
Commended: Justine Hong
Commended: Bridget Withers
Commended: Shannen Zeller

 


The Weston-Smith Physical Sciences Essay Prize and The Biological Sciences Essay Prize

2018 Questions & Information (Physical)

2018 Questions & Information (Biological)

The Newnham Science Prizes may be of particular interest to those studying Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics or Geography but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects. Entrants are invited to submit one response to either a Physical or Biological title.

The Physical Sciences Prize is kindly sponsored by Meg Weston-Smith, a scientist and author, who read Natural Sciences at Newnham.

Winners of the Weston-Smith Physical Sciences Essay Prize 2017

1st Prize: Josephine Jones
Joint 2nd Prize: Charlotte Ghali
Joint 2nd Prize: Sarah Walberton

Highly Commended: Aine McColgan
Highly Commended: Eve Pope
Highly Commended: Urvi Sonawane
Highly Commended: Anna Stevenson

Commended: Claudia Chavasse
Commended: Neha Ramu

Winners of The Biological Sciences Essay Prize 2017

1st Prize: Amelia Irwin
Joint 2nd Prize: Srishti Agarwal
Joint 2nd Prize: Elina Ganatra
3rd Prize: Rachel Jones

Highly Commended: Hannah Lin
Highly Commended: Chloe Palma

 


The History Essay Prize

2018 Questions & Information

The Newnham History Essay Prize may be of particular interest to those studying History, Politics, English Literature, Philosophy or Sociology, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects. Entrants are invited to submit a response to any one of the questions set out in ‘2018 Questions and Information’.

Winners of the History Essay Prize 2017

1st Prize: Ashlan Richards
2nd Prize: Sanjana Gunasekaran
Joint 3rd Prize: Eleanor Graham
Joint 3rd Prize: Helen Markus

Highly Commended: Georgia Brown
Highly Commended: Helena Heyndrickx
Highly Commended: Eve McMullen

 


The Philosophy Essay Prize 

2018 Questions & Information

Please note that the deadline for the 2017-18 Philosophy essay prize has been extended to 12:00pm (midday) on Friday 6th April 2018.

The Newnham Philosophy Essay Prize is designed to give students the opportunity to think and write about philosophy and philosophical matters in the broadest sense, while developing their independent study and writing skills. This prize may be of particular interest to those either currently studying, or considering studying, Philosophy, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects.

Winners of the Philosophy Essay Prize 2017

1st Prize: Cherry Dicko
2nd Prize: Heléna Vegas Quinn
3rd Prize: Maia Webb

 


The Modern and Medieval Languages Essay Prize

2018 Questions & Information

The Newnham Modern and Medieval Languages Essay Prize is now in its second year. This prize may be of particular interest to those currently studying languages, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects. Entrants are invited to submit a response to any one of the questions set out in the ‘2018 Questions and Information’. Essays should be written primarily in English.

Winners of the Modern and Medieval Languages Essay Prize 2017

1st Prize: Hemma Jari
2nd Prize: Effie Webb
3rd Prize: Mary Osborne

Highly Commended: Daisy Coombes
Highly Commended: Georgina Findlay
Highly Commended: Emma Tinn

Commended: Esther Leong
Commended: Anna Zakonyi


The Music Essay Prize

2018 Questions & Information

The Newnham Music Essay Prize is new to 2017-18. This prize may be of particular interest to those currently studying Music or History, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects. Entrants are invited to submit a response to any one of the questions set out in the ‘2018 Questions and Information’.


The Architecture Essay Prize (not continued in 2018)

Winners of the Architecture Essay Prize 2017

1st Prize: Poppy Mitchell
2nd Prize: Lucy Dabbs
3rd Prize: Dorothy Zhang

Highly Commended: Lydia Cronin
Highly Commended: Lucy Jones
Highly Commended: Catherine Sheridan
Highly Commended: Bernice Wong

The Reach Cambridge scholarship essay competition is designed for academically excellent high school students aged between 15 and 17 who would otherwise not be able to attend our summer programs. Please note that this scholarship competition is not for application to the University of Cambridge.

Please note, the Scholarship Scheme for 2018 is now closed. Successful applicants will be contacted on or after the 31st December 2017.

What are the prizes?

First Prize:

3 week scholarship prize (awarded to a maximum of 2 students): 100% of the program fee for our 3 week Program 1 in 2018.

Second Prize

2 week scholarship prize (awarded to a maximum of 3 students): 100% of the program fee for either our two week Program 2 or our two week Program 3 in 2018.

Please note that both prizes include all those items ordinarily covered by the program fee. They do not include the cost of flights, or other items which are not ordinarily covered by the program fee. We may also award a prize for our Spring Program which will be decided at the discretion of the Scholarship Team. See terms & conditions for further details.

What is the essay question and what else will be taken into consideration?

The essay question for this year’s scholarship competition is:

“In an age of quick and easy global communication, what is the value of face-to-face interaction and learning with students from around the world?”

To craft a good essay requires careful argumentation, clear structure and personality. It is these characteristics that we will look for in judging applicants’ essays. We will also take into account the letter of recommendation supplied by your school.

How do I enter?

In order to enter the competition, follow these simple steps to complete a full application by the 1st of December 2017:

  • Follow the link below to set up a Reach Cambridge scholarship account (do not use the “apply” button at the top right of our website – you cannot set up a scholarship account through that link)
  • From your main account page, select the “Scholarship” tab on the left
  • Copy your essay into the box provided (it should be no longer than 1000 words). Answer all other questions on the page.
  • A letter of recommendation from a member of staff at your school must be uploaded using the form in the Scholarship Tab of your account page. This should be written on official headed school paper, and should outline why you are a good candidate for the scholarship: it should tell us what makes you academically excellent, and it must give us some indication of your financial circumstances. For example, if you attend a fee-paying school, the letter must specify whether you attend the school on a scholarship, or whether you are full or part fee-paying. It must include contact details for the member of staff so that we can contact them for further information if necessary. This is the only part of the application that should come from your school – the rest needs to be completed by you.
  • You must also complete the School Transcript, Declaration Form, Parent Info, and School Info sections of your account. Please note that if you do not complete all these sections of your application, we will not consider your application. They should all be “ticked” on your account page before the deadline.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be notified by 31st December 2017, and will be invited for an online interview.

Please ensure you read the scholarship essay competition terms and conditions before applying. By submitting an application you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.

THE SCHOLARSHIP SCHEME FOR 2018 IS NOW CLOSED

Scholarship Essay Competition Terms & Conditions:

  • Applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 17 on 1st July 2018, and currently studying at high school.
  • The students must complete the essays independently – they must be original non-plagiarised work.
  • The closing date for scholarship applications is 1stof December 2017 at 23:00 GMT. We will only consider full applications submitted by this date. A full application is one that includes an answer to the essay question and all other questions on the “Scholarship” tab, the letter of recommendation from your school, and also has the following sections completed on the account page: School Transcript, Declaration Form, Parent Info, School Info.
  • Applicants from fee-paying schools will only be considered if their letter of recommendation confirms that they attend the school on a scholarship.
  • The prizes provide without charge all those items ordinarily covered by the program fee, including accommodation, all excursions, lectures, theatre trips, workshops and tuition, and half board meals.
  • These prizes do not include those items which are not ordinarily covered by the program fee: flights; transportation to/from Cambridge at the start and end of the program if travel is undertaken independently; third meal of the day (half board is provided); optional enhancements shown to have an extra fee; snacks, drinks and meals purchased away from the program; pocket money and souvenirs; visa costs (if required); books for credit courses and classes; laundry (aside from bed linen); travel insurance, medical insurance and any medical or dental fees.
  • It is not guaranteed that Reach Cambridge will offer scholarship prizes to any of the candidates. Reach Cambridge reserves the right to not award scholarship prizes.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be notified by 31st December 2017.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an online interview in early January 2018, and will be notified of the outcome by the end of January.
  • The author of the students’ recommendation letter may be contacted for further information.
  • The final decision on prize winners rests with Reach Cambridge Ltd. By submitting an application for the scholarship the student agrees to respect and honour the decision made by Reach Cambridge.
  • By submitting an application to the scholarship competition, the student agrees to assist with promoting the scholarship scheme if awarded a prize.
  • The successful applicant also agrees to their name being published on the Reach Cambridge website, as well as on its social media pages.
  • The student must have permission from a parent or guardian to accept the scholarship. Scholarship prizes are conditional on parental approval – a parent/guardian will be required to sign a declaration that they accept the Reach Cambridge terms and conditions and rules and regulations.
  • By applying for this scholarship, the student agrees to abide by the Reach Cambridge Terms and Conditionsand Rules and Regulations, available on our website, as well as these scholarship terms and conditions
  • Students do not have to pay a deposit before applying for the scholarship.
  • Please note that all terms and conditions for Reach Cambridge courses, including the cancellation policy, also apply for scholarship applicants.